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Yes, there’s a right way to groom your own dog and you’re probably not doing it

Hey, getting your dog groomed by a pro can be expensive — which explains why so many dog owners decide to step into the groomer’s shoes occasionally and take care of our own doggy’s ‘do. Some of us have made a regular habit of it because the convenience of saving time and money just makes sense.

And let’s be real; those of us who opt to groom our own dogs basically think we’re masters at it… that we can trim our dog’s coat as skillfully as Edward Scissorhands could trim a shrub. While there may in fact be some impressive home groomers in the mix, most of us are probably doing it wrong.

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You might be thinking, “Wait. Is there a wrong way to groom a dog?” Well, no and yes. No, because it’s your dog, dude. Ultimately, if your pup seems happy and you think your dog grooming skills are on point, then you do you.

Yes, because there actually is a right way to groom your own dog — and by “right,” we mean a way that makes grooming your own dog a more efficient and successful task to undertake. Consider it a life hack for DIY dog grooming, if you will.

So, what is this mystical trick I speak of? Prepare to marvel at the simplicity of this step you’ve likely been skipping all along: pre-bathing your dog.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been bathing your dog post-grooming. It’s a great way to get rid of all of the tiny, annoying, recently-clipped hair from your dog’s coat, right? You can still give your dog another bath after grooming if you feel it’s necessary, but many pro groomers give dogs a pre-bath too.

The reason for this is alarmingly logical — a clean dog is just easier to groom. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense.

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As poor an analogy as it may be, it makes me think of the battle that commences when I try to brush my 5-year-old daughter’s hair when it is dry as opposed to when she has just taken a bath and her hair is tangle-free. It’s much the same with dog’s coats in that a nice shampoo bath before grooming makes it easier for the brush or clippers to glide through your dog’s hair.

A fringe benefit to pre-bathing your dog before grooming is that it will extend the life of your dog grooming supplies (think clippers, scissors, combs, etc.), because they don’t have to work as hard to do their job.

After you’ve bathed your dog, let him or her dry and then commence with regular grooming activities.

First, grab your comb or fine-wired brush and begin coming out your dog’s coat. Be particularly mindful of any areas that are matted, giving special attention so as not to hurt your pup when you work through the mat.

Once your dog’s coat has been combed through thoroughly, you can take out your clippers and start to endeavor on whatever style you dig for your dog. Clipping, of course, should start at the back of the ears with your clippers positioned so they are flat against your pup’s body.

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Follow the direction your dog’s hair naturally lays and make long, deliberate passes with the clippers. Continue in this method until you’ve successfully made your way around the dog’s entire body.

While you can use clippers on your dog’s head, the noise could scare your pooch. Plus, wielding clippers around your dog’s eyes can be kind of unnerving. If it is more comfortable, trimming around your dog’s eyes, ears and mouth with scissors is always an option.

There you have it! Unless you do opt to give your dog a post-grooming bath, you’re done. Give yourself (and your pup) a solid pat on the back.

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